This research uses genetic techniques to provide insight into New Zealand’s cultural past. Our research findings provide new knowledge on interactions between Māori iwi by determining the translocation pathways of cultivated plant species.
We are also using DNA to examine the relationships between weaving cultivars of harakeke and distinguish between plant species used to make tapa (barkcloth) in the Pacific region.
Main collaborators: Rob Smissen, Sue Scheele (Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research), Peter Lockhart, Nick Roskruge (Massey University), Catherine Smith (University of Otago), Matt Ryan (Victoria University of Wellington), Peter de Lange (Unitec).
Funding: Marsden Fund and Rutherford Discovery Fellowship.
Shepherd LD, de Lange PJ, Cox S, McLenachan PA, Roskruge NR, Lockhart PJ. 2016. Evidence of a strong domestication bottleneck in the recently cultivated New Zealand endemic root crop, Arthropodium cirratum (Asparagaceae). PLoS ONE 11: e0152455.
Shepherd LD, Thiedmann M, Lehnebach C. 2020. Genetic identification of historic Sophora (Fabaceae) specimens suggests toromiro (Sophora toromiro) from Rapa Nui/Easter Island may have been in cultivation in Europe in the 1700s. New Zealand Journal of Botany 58: 255-267.
Shepherd LD, Whitehead P, Whitehead A. 2019. Genetic analysis identifies the missing parchment of New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi. PLoS ONE 14: e0210528.